Tonight we have the pleasure of introducing Austin Smith as our speaker. Austin will be speaking on ‘Mapping Memories of the Tokushima Air Raids’.
In this paper Austin aims to look beyond the chaos and destruction that characterised the firebombing of Japan’s towns and cities in the closing stages of the Asia-Pacific War through an exploration of eyewitness testimonies of bombing in Tokushima, a prefectural capital on the rural island of Shikoku. Images from the Tokushima Air Raid Exhibition and details from an anthology of fifty-nine retrospective eyewitness accounts will be presented and mapped in order to visualise the extent of the air raids and to show how individual experiences and responses varied by place. There will be a particular focus on the movement of people, the spread of rumour and exchanges of knowledge that took place as bombing raids extended outwards from major urban centres to Japan’s second cities and beyond. By placing these individual perspectives in wider context Austin hopes to broaden understanding of the wartime experience and war memory in Shikoku and demonstrate how Japan’s second cities fit into the broader context of the Japanese Empire.
Austin is a first year PhD candidate in Modern History researching wartime experiences and war memory in modern Japan. His research is funded by the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation. Prior to coming to St Andrews he lived and worked in Tokushima for four years as a participant on the Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme. He completed his undergraduate degree in History (2009) and an MA in East Asian History (2010) at Newcastle University. Austin’s MA research traced Tokyo’s Olympic history from the 1930s through to the present day. He will spend the second semester of the coming academic year as an Erasmus+ Postgraduate Exchange Student at Leiden University in the Netherlands, one of the leading centres of East Asian Studies in Europe.
Join us at 5.15pm in St Katherine’s Lodge Room 1.10 for papers and a Q&A. Refreshments will be provided, followed by a trip to the Brew Co. to continue discussion.